Grounding value in the Anthropocene – call for contributions

Deadline: 15 September 2021
Workshops: First week of November 2021

Contributions are invited for an interdisciplinary online workshop on ‘value’ in the Anthropocene. This collaborative project seeks to explore the diverse ways in which the environment is and has been valued by members of different communities, publics, and academic disciplines. An initial workshop in autumn 2021 will form the basis of an online open-source pedagogical resource to be co-created with a visual artist. By acknowledging the central role of humanity in shaping the planet, the concept of the Anthropocene confronts us with questions of value in myriad ways – we are compelled to pay attention to what is valued, how, and by whom. However, practices of understanding and valuing environments are not consistent within societies or between them. Moreover, different values can complicate cooperation when it comes to solving environmental and societal challenges. Taking account of this poses challenges for all sorts of stakeholders in research and teaching who are situated within strictly defined disciplinary boundaries. We wish to place divergent values next to each other so that an open-ended discussion about regimes of understanding ‘the environment’ can emerge.

Initially, we are inviting proposals for a visual presentation to accompany a provocation oriented towards a critical discussion of value attribution. Participants are invited to consider the question of value in the Anthropocene via the discussion of ‘objects’, broadly defined.
These might encompass:
• commodities or material aspects of the natural and built environment
• the ways in which the environment is rendered legible as discrete objects through diverse kinds of material-discursive practice (economic, scientific, cultural or spiritual)
For instance, attention could be paid to the status of ecosystems within scientific discourse, modes of identifying/contesting ‘waste’ products, or attitudes to minerals among indigenous populations and/or colonizers.

These contributions will form the basis of a public website of visual and textual ‘object lessons’ (Schlereth 1992; Daston 2004), created in collaboration with a visual artist and web designer. The end-product is intended to inspire critical reflections on how the environment
has been shaped through heterogeneous value-making practices. This pedagogically inclined resource will be an innovative tool for scholars and teachers seeking to discuss the challenges of coming to terms with the Anthropocene in a manner that crosses disciplinary

‘Grounding Value in the Anthropocene’ is funded by the British Academy and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The research infrastructure generated by this project will provide a foundation for broader collaborations in the next few years.

If you would like to be considered for one of the 15 available places for the initial workshop collaboration, please submit a single image with a short description (up to 150 words) and a set of bullet points detailing questions/controversies/points for discussion in PDF or word format to